Saturday, January 28, 2012

Warrantless wiretapping lives on

It was over six years ago that people who care about the U.S. constitution were dismayed to learn about a secret U.S. government program to monitor phone and internet communications inside the U.S. and not just abroad, without regard for the fourth amendment which normally prevents blanket spying.

Of course, organizations that care about privacy, like the EFF, launched lawsuits against telecomms and the government in order to learn more about the program (discovery) and hopefully shut it down when it is proven unconstitutional. I had assumed that this program was a Bush or neoconservative thing, but then Obama voted "yes" on the bill that gave retroactive immunity to companies participating in the program, and when he became president he continued every tactic that made us complain about the Bush administration.

The retroactive immunity bill blocked the EFF's lawsuit against AT&T, including the discovery process, which leaves one lawsuit against the NSA which seems to have been stalled for a very long time. I think it's been a couple of years since I heard any news on the topic, but EFF now says their lawsuit can proceed once more. In the meantime, the program is presumably operating as before. I wonder what U.S. government spying algorithms think of my personal emails...
  • "The government has been using its secrecy system in absurd ways for decades, but 2011 was particularly egregious. Here are a few examples."

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